I don’t believe that pain, in itself, is beauty. I do, however, believe that there are beautiful aspects of pain and that pain can sometimes lead to beauty.
I’m interested in the thoughts and ideas of those in the early church who took great joy in being persecuted and martyred. It seems (although not universally) that they found much beauty in their suffering. This begs me to ask, does God want us to suffer? My answer would be no.
I am assuming they believed that their suffering and pain led them to better understand the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Pain also forces us to rely more on God for mercy and salvation.
I have been thinking a lot about asceticism, which is intense self-denial. Many believers in the early church practiced this, in hopes of becoming more holy and connecting with God. I think there is definitely some truth in this. I am trying to find ways in my life to be more disciplined in order to rely more on God and create space to listen. But I don’t think this self-discipline should necessarily lead to pain. Yes, there are surface (and deeper) difficulties that arise in cleaning out our brokenness, but the initial struggle leads to peace and joy.
I think God hopes for all of creation to be in perfect harmony, which in my mind involves lots of smiling. So I suppose I believe pain is unaviodable and ultimately necessary for us, as broken beings, to come to a place of beauty. But pain and beauty are not synonymous in mind.